Celebrity tabloid Radar Online reported that Bill Cosby is hiding around $5 million in Bitcoin to shield it from his creditors, the government, his lawyers, and his wife, should she decide to divorce him in the future. According to experts in Bitcoin and the blockchain, that assertion is not true. There are multiple problems with the story that Radar Online reported, which were debunked by CCN.
Cosby is tied to a sexual assault scandal in which he drugged and raped a number of women. As a result of that, he amassed significant legal bills, with unsubstantiated rumors that he may still owe in the area of $25 million to his legal team. There have been rumors that his wife may seek a divorce, but that has not been substantiated either. What is known is that prior to his legal problems, Cosby was estimated to have a net worth of around $500 million.
Radar Online reported that a source close to Cosby told them that Cosby moved about $5 million to Bitcoin in an attempt to shield his assets. The article further claims that by using Bitcoin, his money would be “practically untraceable and impossible for anyone but him to retrieve.” Also according to this close source, the expert who advised Cosby told him it “couldn’t be taken in a divorce, bankruptcy or by the government in any liens!”
— The Bitcoin King (@TheBitcoinKing) August 27, 2018
As CCN points out in their debunking of the claims made concerning Cosby hiding his money in Bitcoin, pretty much everything Radar Online reported regarding the technology and advice he was allegedly given is wrong.
“It’s not clear from whom Cosby is getting financial advice because this so-called expert is giving him some questionable information.”
Bitcoin transactions can be shielded from government seizure, but only if they are stored in a particular way. There is also a problem with the idea of moving $5 million into Bitcoin, as there will be evidence of a transaction of that size on the sending end for which he would not be exempt from financial liabilities. There is also the matter of Cosby’s high profile. His every move is being scrutinized by his family, legal team, prosecutors, the government, and possibly the women that are suing him, which would make him pulling off a transaction like that without being caught almost impossible.
“For one thing, it would be virtually impossible for someone as high profile as Cosby to both quickly acquire $5 million worth of bitcoin and do so in a way that cannot be traced by blockchain analytics firms.”
— Cryptonetix (@cryptonetix) August 28, 2018
They point out that even if Cosby did get $5 million moved into Bitcoin, his financial statements would show he was moving money out with nothing to show coming back in. They say that this would still be true if he tried to hide his money in Amazon gift cards or tulip bulbs. There would always be a trail. This would just place him in a position of facing more criminal and civil charges, and for what would amount to about one percent of his fortune, it wouldn’t be worth the risk or effort.
Stocks Gazette, which is one of the leading cryptocurrency authorities online went a step further in debunking the claim by reminding everyone that transactions on the blockchain are visible to everyone, and addresses can be linked, meaning even micro-transactions could be pieced together. They also harken back to the point that Cosby is too high profile to move $5 million without alarms going off, and without leaving a $5 million hole in his financial statements. They support the conclusion that there is no way Cosby hid $5 million in Bitcoin.
The final thing that everyone from blockchain experts to people who understand it enough to use Bitcoin to make purchases online seem to agree about, is that despite the claims the person alleged to have advised Cosby on Bitcoin made, it is not impossible to find. It is not impossible to seize, as Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht can attest to. If the government gets their hands on it, they can most definitely disperse it to creditors through proper legal channels, meaning it would basically pointless to even try to hide money in Bitcoin.
On a closing note, it has also been pointed out that anyone who doesn’t understand the limitations and legalities surrounding Bitcoin is almost assuredly not smart enough to know how to advise someone to launder $5 million using Bitcoin. Independent analysis of blockchain experts, including BitRss, and CryptoNetix all conclude the Radar Online report is false.